Friday, July 8, 2016

A Little Older, Worn Out and Loved

Rocky reading my Bible on the patio
Several years ago husband build us an enclosed patio with a pond and a fountain. There were many reasons for the enclosure. We hid from the neighbors. I wouldn't lay in the sun when the neighbors could see me. The enclosure gave us the feel of being away from home. The pond and fountain brought a soothing quiet to our day. We enjoyed our time of togetherness-sometimes I slept on the swing and he snoozed on a lounge chair. Awe, peacefulness. Then husband died. For six years I did nothing inside that patio except let the weeds grow. This spring friend Pebbles said, "This is such a haven." With her encouragement and help, the weeds are gone. Pebbles planted my tree and two lilac bushes and I added succulents in the planter.

Of course, a patio needs a table and chairs-I'd given away the beautiful swing and thrown out the messed up lounge chair.

To several friends I said, "I need a table and chairs for the or free." Sure enough, Jake and Jeanie found this, picked it up and delivered it to me.

"I'm so sorry we didn't see the scratches in the glass," Jeanie said.

You know I'm thrilled with this set, the umbrella works great, the chairs are comfy and Rocky and I don't care about the scratches. If we have visitors we can use a table cloth, but then our dishes will cover the worn spots and no one will notice.

In the cool of the morning, we do have those once in awhile in Omaha, I enjoy sitting on the almost forgotten patio, drink coffee and read my Bible. Rocky nudges my arm and then wanders off to try and catch a bird or two while they play in a tree outside his reach.

My first tomato this season
Today I say thank you for the gifts of love: Husband for the patio years ago, Pebbles for reminding me to enjoy the sanctuary and her help in the renewal of the space. Thank you to Jake and Jeanie, too. My table and chairs are a treasure. I’ve decided they are like me—a little older, a bit worn, but those who care about me overlook those scratches and wrinkles and love me anyway.

Photo by Pat Mingarelli 
And guess what? My guests will have homegrown tomatoes from my flourishing tomato bush.  Sign me: Still Lionhearted, Kat
Pasquale (Pat) is with Wordsowers Christian Writers.  Check out his photography if you are interested in a new headshot for your author page or business cards. 

Don't forget the July 28, 2016 is another time for writers to come together for a monthly meeting at the Swanson's Library, 6-7:45 with an afterglow (fun get together) at Village Inn on 79th and Dodge following. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

How Did I Survive Diapers and Kid Schedules?

Paddy Dog Ready to Race after a Rabbit 
Paddy Awfulous O’Reilly died in August 2013, only a day before his fourteenth birthday. After spending those last minutes crying over him, I said I’d never have another dog.  Husband always did the potty training and the exercise with the dogs we owned, besides, it takes a lot of time to take care of a dog. 

We all know, you don’t ever say never, right?

When the young man stood at my doorstep and said, “I’ve got to get rid of Buddy, but I don’t want him to go to just anyone,” I still didn’t want a dog. But then I’d always said, “If I ever did get another dog, it would be a Border Collie. They are so smart.” For months after Savannah heard me talk about Border collie she sent me pictures of BC puppies. None of them tempted me.

But Buddy (now Rocky Balboa) from next door, well, he wormed his way into my heart in minutes. He’s such a good dog, gentle for his 75 pounds and he’s good company.

Somehow in the three years between Paddy’s death and Rocky’s in, I forgot big dogs shed.  They play in our backyard and drag in dirt and muddy footprints.  They demand food and water. They need space to pooh in the backyard—and since husband isn’t here, I’m the number one pooper-scooper-picker-upper.  (Yes, I have a plastic gizmo, but the smell in the heat gags me. How did I survive diapers with three kids?)

It’s now seven weeks since Rocky moved in. I still have a box on the couch—yes he tried couch sleeping. The TV room has three stuffed toys and a dog bone right in the pathway from Front Parlor to kitchen—yes, that’s his play area. Every morning instead of sitting in my comfy recliner I sit on the floor with a lap robe over me. Rocky snuggles next to me while I read my Bible—he likes his comfy, next to Mom time.

Sometime each day I remind Rocky he is a gift to me from God. He is lots of work. We don’t have a real schedule to get all his mess cleaned up yet, but he’s company. He came already trained and he’s big enough to scare away most burglars.  

Friday, July 1, 2016

Unforgiveness grows like the Kudza Vine

These story telling moments are not perfection, they are meant for me to share with you—heart to heart. Like if you were sitting in my living room. Well, actually, we’d probably sit on the glassed in front porch or my enclosed deck with a wonderful patio table, chairs and umbrella.

Kudza covering my trees while
I partied in Hawaii. 
I mentioned my tear filled day a few days ago. It truly happened because someone overheard their name mentioned and asked another person what I said. It all grew huge like Kudza vine that covers my trees in ten days or less. 

At my age I know better than to say the name of someone if I haven’t said what I plan to say to that person—does that make sense? Hope so. I’m in a hurry. But fact is I did speak without thinking about how my words could hurt.

If you don't know about Kudza, it takes over whole yards and houses if left alone. Well, I didn’t know if anyone knew anything about anything about what I said, but I knew I knew and I better stop the vine before it covered my friend. 

On the tear jerker day I tried to talk one on one with her. It didn’t turn out well. I prayed, cried and felt bad all weekend.

The next week I asked one of the powers that be to listen in while I spoke with my friend. I apologized and asked forgiveness. My once good friend spilled her anger. The anger steamed, but I could also see the pain and hurt I’d caused her. She finally said, “I just don’t know what to do about it.”

The wise man, the powers that be person said, “When my wife and I disagree and can’t find an answer, we stop and say, 'Can we just start over.'" He looked at both of us. “I can see how you are both right and both wrong, but you are kindred spirits, believers in the Lord.”

My friend said she’d felt miserable all weekend and agreed scrub the Kudza at the roots and start our friendship over- to forgive and go forward. She hugged me. We both cried.

The Lord’s Prayer talks about forgiveness. The Message Bible says, Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.  Matthew 6:12

The good news is, neither of us let this fester into a vine seeking to destroy us. e both knew we needed to pray and seek God’s guidance. You know forgiveness is such a big load lifter. 

Still Lionhearted, Kat
PS In 2010 I flew to Oregon with my mother. Kudza vine covered every bit of fence around my house. I paid Savannah and her friend to pull the vines down. They tagged it "The Devil Vine." Good analogy, huh?